Browse Categories

Pewter Walsingham Pilgrim's Ampulla

Price:: $12.00


Item Number: 82810000



This excellent copy of a pilgrim's flask comes from the famous pilgrim destination the Walsingham Shrine. Its pitted surface comes from the stone mold in which the original was cast. As the original , in our collection, is permanently sealed, this replica is cast solid in a lead-free pewter.

About the Walsingham Shrine

written by:
The Rev'd Canon Francis C. Zanger+, D.Min., SOM
Priest of the Holy House of Our Lady of Walsingham

Walsingham was indeed once one of the most important shrines and pilgrimage site in all Europe, after Rome and San Juan de Compostela. When Our Lady appeared there, she asked Dame Richeldis to build an exact copy of the Holy House-- the House where she had lived with Saints Anna and Joachim when approached by the Angel Gabriel. As soon as the Holy House was built, a spring of fresh water burst forth from the ground, and was soon renowned for its healing properties. Edward the Confessor, King at the time, was the first of England's royalty to make pilgrimage to the house, and for the next 500 years pilgrims by the thousands, royalty,merchants and beggars, visited the House and the Holy Well to ask Our Lady to pray for them. The last royal to visit was Henry VIII, who came to pray for a male heir.
Following Henry's split with Rome, he destroyed many shrines and monasteries, but took particular care in ensuring that the Shrine at Walsingham was completely demolished, stone from stone, and the smashed fragments thrown into the Well, which he then has sealed over with clay to ensure that nothing would remain. The statue of Our Lady, holding the Christ Child, he had burned.  The village of Little Walsingham, shorn of its Shrine visitors, reverted to being one more tiny village in the Norfolk countryside, with more sheep than people within the parish boundaries.
In the early 1920s, Fr. Hope Patten, a devout Anglo-Catholic Anglican priest, was assigned to Little Walsingham and two other parish churches some miles apart. Knowing of the original Shrine, he began exploratory excavations, while meanwhile having a replica of the statue (copied from a lead seal in the British Museum) made and placed in the parish church (to his rather evangelical bishop's chagrin).  After some time, he was able to locate the site of the blocked well, and as soon as the clay seal and debris were cleared out, the well immediately burst forth once again with clear, fresh water, after half a millennium. Fr. Patten, with the help of local villagers (he was an energetic and convincing man), now knowing the exact location of the shrine, and knowing the measurements of the Holy House because they had been recorded by Erasmus in the 11th or 12th Century (I'm writing from memory, and don't remember Erasmus' dates), had the House rebuilt, and began again encouraging pilgrims.
Today there are two shrines: the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and a mile away, at what had been the Slipper Chapel (where medieval pilgrims would remove their shoes to walk the last mile barefoot), the Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. In addition, within the enlarged Anglican Shrine (built over and around the Holy House and Well), is the Eastern Orthodox Chapel to Our Lady of Walsingham. The Shrines continue to receive thousands of pilgrims every year (and has just had to expand its pilgrim's housing to accommodate the numbers). There is also a lay Society of Our Lady of Walsingham, an order for clergy, called the Priests of the Holy House, and a Society for praying the Rosary.
That which was in the Middle Ages is once again, despite the damage done by Henry VIII, an active Shrine, visited annually by thousands of pilgrims, who, as then, are entitled to Pilgrim's Badges, which is actually an ampulla or flask that the pilgrim could put a little water from the Well in to carry after leaving.

Shopping Cart
Your cart is empty.
Mailing Lists

Featured Article:
Inspiration for Customizing your Medieval Clothing